Defense Minister Benny Gantz offered to send Israeli search-and-rescue troops to Turkey, following massive flooding in the country, his office said on Sunday.
“Defense Minister Benny Gantz, through IDF channels, contacted Turkey’s defense attache in Israel and the Turkish Defense Ministry, with an offer to send a Home Front Command delegation to Turkey, including search-and-rescue and medical assistance,” the ministry said in a statement. “This is in light of the powerful floods in the country that have already claimed dozens of lives.”
Rescuers in Turkey are racing to find survivors of flash floods in the north that have killed at least 55 people as of Sunday.
Scientists believe such natural disasters are becoming more intense and frequent because of global warming caused by polluting emissions.
The official disaster agency AFAD said teams were combing through the rubble of dozens of homes that collapsed due to the floods that hit Black Sea regions on Wednesday after heavy rains.
In the village of Babacay in the northern province of Sinop, 40 houses and two bridges were completely destroyed by the floods, according to state news agency Anadolu.
The latest official death toll published Saturday by AFAD stood at 55, with nine other people in hospital.
Turkey’s emergence as a frontline country in the battle against climate change also poses a challenge to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan two years before the next scheduled general election.
As the initial shock of the floods faded, so questions and criticisms arose.
Floods survivors accused local authorities of not giving them proper warning about the dangers of incoming storms.
Criticism has also been leveled at the fact that several buildings were built in flood zones.
In Bozkurt in Kastamonu province, one eight-story building constructed on the banks of the Ezine River collapsed.
Footage shot by survivors showed furious river waters flooding the streets in just a few minutes, carrying off cars and traffic signs.
The government — which did not adopt the 2015 Paris climate accord — has denied that the sudden rise in water levels was linked to a hydroelectric power station further up the river. Media had reported a water-retention dam may have ruptured.